Timekeeping in sporting events is of the utmost importance to not only determine a victor but also to start a race simultaneously for everyone involved. On land, it’s not that difficult to do, even though there can be quite a bit of tech involved. On the water, however, lining up for the start of a race becomes a whole different game. You have very little control, if any at all, over open water and wind, so how do you start a sailing race? By using a Regatta countdown timer that guides you through the various stages with precision and control. In preparation for next year’s 37th running of the America’s Cup and in partnership with Emirates Team New Zealand, Omega has just revealed the new Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Deep Black ETNZ Edition, dedicated to the world of competitive sailing.
The America’s cup
The America’s Cup is the oldest competition in sailing, dating back to 1851. It’s a competition between two teams, with one being the defending team (winner of the previous edition) and a challenging team determined by the Challenger Selection Series. There are always several years between each edition and the stipulations of each race may vary (number of stages, location, etc) depending on the cup holder’s stipulations.
The winner also becomes the caretaker of the literal America’s Cup, known as the Auld Mug. Next year’s race, which is the 37th running of the America’s Cup, is set to be held between September and October 2024, off the Spanish coast, with Barcelona as the main port. The current defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, is set to take on a yet-to-be-determined challenger.
Omega has been involved with the America’s Cup in one way or another since 1995, as it first partnered with the ETNZ team. It has also been the official timing partner for the event in 2001, 2003, 2021 and will be so for the upcoming 2024 edition. The America’s Cup is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious and challenging sailing competitions in the world, along with The (Volvo) Ocean Race.
Omega & Regatta timing
In addition to being a timing partner for the whole event and a sponsor to the ETNZ team, it has also created special watches dedicated to the world of sailing. Next to Seamaster or even Speedmaster editions with an America’s Cup theme, Omega also produced some dedicated Regatta-type watches. Back in 2015, on the occasion of the 35th America’s Cup, Omega presented the Seamaster Diver 300M ETNZ. This titanium rendition of the Seamaster Diver 300M featured a striking combination of black and grey tones, with bright red elements to provide the necessary contrast to make telling time a breeze. The ETNZ, to keep things simple, had a special inverted 5-minute scale for the chronograph minutes, to be able to precisely time the start of a sailing race.
Four years later, for the 36th edition of the America’s Cup, Omega once again presented something dedicated to the event. Next to the ‘standard’ Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M America’s Cup, the brand also introduced a special Seamaster Diver 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer Chronograph. Using the Diver 300M as a base, this special edition featured a bright red countdown ring with a matching hand to time the start of the race. Underneath the subdial is a running hour disc, visible through the arched window at the bottom of the minutes register. Another element that sets it apart from other Seamster Diver 300Ms is the CHRONO LOCK system to secure the chronograph functions and lock in your measured time.
The Seamaster Planet Ocean deep black etnz edition
The two aforementioned editions of the Seamaster dedicated to the America’s Cup are sort of combined into the new Planet Ocean Deep Black ETNZ Edition. Once again partnering with the Emirates Team New Zealand crew, Omega now turns to the Planet Ocean to create a special edition for the upcoming 37th America’s Cup. This also means the water resistance gets a significant boost from 300m to 600m. Naturally, to keep in check with the specificities needed for such an event, the watch in question is a chronograph, but more on that in a bit.
The Planet Ocean Deep Black ETNZ Edition comes in a matte black ceramic case measuring a formidable 45.5mm in diameter, 19mm in height and 52.4mm from lug to lug. The pushers, crown, unidirectional bezel, bezel insert and helium escape valve are also crafted from the scratch-resistant material. The only contrast on the exterior of the watch comes from the white 60-minute scale on the bezel insert and the turquoise-coloured rings surrounding the chronograph pushers. On top, there’s a sapphire crystal, while around the back a NAIAD locking caseback perfectly seals the case and lines out the Emirates Team New Zealand logo and supporting inscriptions.
Moving to the dial, this again is in matte black ceramic but receives a whole lot more ‘pop’ thanks to the further use of turquoise. The 12 o’clock numeral, for instance, is in turquoise, along with the minute scale on the outer edge of the dial. The brushed steel hour and minute hands have broad-arrow tips and Super-LumiNova inserts. The central chronograph seconds hand is rather special and has a white-to-turquoise gradient effect with an ‘Auld Mug’ shaped counterweight. On the left, there’s a running seconds indicator, but all the attention will most likely go to the subdial at 3′. This combines a Regatta countdown minutes timer with a turquoise ring and hand, and a chronograph hour disc visible through the arched aperture in the bottom of the subdial. It’s a similar set-up to the 2021 Seamaster Diver 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer Chronograph for the America’s Cup.
Inside the stout case is Omega’s in-house produced Calibre 9900, although it is a bit different from the standard 9900 series because of the Regatta timing function for the hours and minutes. As always, it’s a METAS-certified Master Chronometer movement. The automatic chronograph with column wheel and vertical clutch runs at a rate of 28,800vph and features a co-axial escapement with silicon balance and hairspring. The running time when fully wound is 60 hours, more than enough to time a stint in the upcoming America’s Cup. Although hidden from view, the movement is wound by a central rotor with Arabesque Geneva Stripes.
The new Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Deep Black ETNZ Edition is worn on a turquoise and black structured rubber strap and a black ceramic folding clasp. Presented in a special box, you also get an additional rubber strap and two NATO-style, all in complementary colours. This special edition retails for CHF 11,700 excluding taxes.